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Everyone knows that the odds of being struck by lightning are very low for individual people. But your house is a much bigger target, and a single strike of lighting can do incredible damage to a typical property, destroying appliances, frying circuits, and even causing fires. This is why many homeowners consider lightning rod installation. With rods in place, your home is protected from lightning bolts. If a bolt lands on your property, the rod works to safely transfer the electrical power into the ground, protecting the property from damage.
Lightning rods can save a lot of money in the long run and be installed professionally or by the homeowner, depending on the rods used. Most homeowners pay between $1,000 to $2,000 for lightning rod installation, with most paying $1,500 for professional installation of six simple copper lightning rods.
|Lightning Rod Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$1,500|
Lightning rods are divided into two main categories: simple and early streamer emission (ESE) air terminals. Simple rods are the easiest to handle and install, while ESE air terminals are much more complicated. The table below shows the average costs for each:
|Type of Lightning Rod||Average Cost per Rod|
|Simple||$50 to $150|
|ESE Air Terminals||$2,000 to $2,500|
Simple rods are the easiest to handle and install, and homeowners can install and replace these rods themselves. They are much cheaper, costing between $50 and $150 per rod. Depending on your home size, you may need multiple simple rods because they do not protect large spaces like ESE air terminals do.
Early streamer emission air terminals are much larger, more powerful, and more expensive than simple lightning rods, but you usually only need one per home. They protect a much larger surface area than simple rods but must be professionally installed. The cost of ESE air terminals ranges from $2,000 to $2,500.
When buying simple lightning rods, you have two options for materials: aluminum and copper. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the table below shows the average prices:
|Lightning Rod Material||Average Cost|
|Aluminum||$50 to $90|
|Copper||$120 to $150|
Aluminum lightning rods are cheaper, which is their main advantage. They are more compatible than copper rods in certain cases, such as being easily installed on bare aluminum or galvanized steel roofs. However, they are less efficient at conducting electricity, so they require longer connecting cables. They can also corrode over time. Some homeowners prefer the more discreet look of aluminum rods as opposed to the more eye-catching color of copper rods. An aluminum lightning rod costs about $50 to $90.
Copper lightning rods are more expensive than aluminum lightning rods, but they are regarded as the better choice by experts because copper is a better conductor of electricity. When using copper rods, the connecting cable does not need to be as long, making installation easier. Copper is a strong metal but can be at risk of corrosion over time, and it is not suitable for use on certain roofs, such as aluminum or galvanized steel. Some homeowners like the copper color of these rods and their cables, but others do not. Copper lightning rods cost between $120 and $150 on average.
The overall cost of installing lightning rods depends on the rod type and how big the job is. The total labor costs range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the amount of work. Installing a simple lightning rod is cheaper because it involves less work than installing a full ESE system. Many professionals charge between $35 and $50 per hour. Installing a few simple lightning rods takes a couple of hours or half a day, whereas installing a larger number of rods or an ESE system may require 12-16 hours of work, or $420 to $800. Installing a set of six copper lightning rods on a standard family home costs about $600 in labor out of the total price of $1,500.
The biggest factor affecting the cost of installing a lightning rod is which rod type you choose. Simple lightning rods are easier and faster to install and may be done DIY, which reduces the cost. Meanwhile, ESE air terminal systems are more complex to install and require a professional.
Another factor is your home size. The larger the home, the more protection you need. Bigger roofs require more simple lightning rods to cover the surface area and provide total protection. If you have a large home and roof, it might be more cost-effective to choose an ESE system because you will most likely only need one to cover the entire property. The height of your home also affects the cost, with taller homes requiring longer cables, which results in more work and longer installation times.
A whole house surge protector is another form of home lightning protection to consider. They protect the home if it is struck by lightning by taking on the excess voltage and preventing it from harming appliances and other devices inside the house. These surge protectors are built into your electric service panels and cost about $200 to $500 installed. If you have a lightning rod system in place, professionals often recommend purchasing a whole house surge protector as an added layer of protection, especially if you live in an area that has many lightning storms.
For a smaller scale of protection, consider outlet surge protectors, which can be placed on individual electrical power outlets to protect certain devices and appliances like a TV or computer. These cost about $25 to $50 and can be installed by the homeowner.
A lightning arrester is another form of home lightning protection to consider when installing a lightning rod. It prevents unexpected power outages or sudden surges by being fitted to power and telecommunication lines. If those lines are struck by lightning, the arrester works by transferring the current from the line into the ground, rather than letting it flow into the house. You must contact your local power company to arrange the installation of lightning arresters. Installation of these costs between $200 and $500.
If you have trees around your property, especially within 10 feet of your home, consider installing lightning protection for them as well. Tree lightning protection systems can be fitted to trees of various species and sizes to protect them if lightning strikes. These function in much the same way as how a regular lightning rod protects a home. Without these systems, trees can catch fire, break apart, fall down, or cause side flashes that may damage nearby trees and houses.
These systems cost around $200 to $400 on average, but the price varies depending on the tree size and the amount of work required. Certain trees are more susceptible to lightning strikes than others, so protection systems are strongly recommended for tulip poplar, ash, oak, maple, and elm trees.
Many homeowners worry that installing big metal rods on top of their houses may detract from its looks and general aesthetics. Fortunately, recent years have seen a rise in popularity of decorative lightning rods. These rods are designed with both functionality and style in mind, often featuring elegant finials on the ends or unique extras like weathervanes and decorative elements.
A lightning rod transfers the current from a lightning strike down to the ground, where it can dissipate harmlessly, keeping the property and its inhabitants safe and unharmed.
This depends on the type of lightning rod used. A standard 3,000-square-foot home would be covered entirely by one ESE air terminal system but would require 6 or 7 simple lightning rods.
No, copper does not attract lightning and will not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning. However, it is a very good conductor of electricity, so it can be helpful when used in lightning protection systems and rods.
The safest place to be during a lightning storm is indoors, away from doors, windows, and any electronic devices.